THE GAMBIAN CHILD: A Brief
Essay by Mammie Sarr, a Grade 9 student in The Gambia
The Child of the Gambia today is looked upon in many aspects as the pride of the Nation. First of all the Gambian child is very much concerned about him or her being educated, as he wants to be a responsible citizen of tomorrow. The education of the child does not only benefit him or her but the community as a whole; especially for the Gambian girlchild.
On the other hand, the Gambian child has respect for the elders of his nation as well as outside his community; therefore he is also given self-respect. The child is also ready to give helping hands to his parents and other people in need as this will always grant him or her blessings in life.
Children in both urban and rural places help with the domestic work at home and usually in an efficient manner. In urban centres, children wake up early in the morning to do some domestic work in the compound before they leave for school. This is mostly the duty of the girl child, although the boy child helps in the absence of the girl. She does sweeping, cleaning around the compound, wash dishes, prepares breakfast and quickly sets for school on time
Like the girl child, the boy also does some chores like scrubbing floors, running errands etc. This makes work easier for their parents especially those who are not very energetic. Not only do they help in the morning but also after school. For example, the boy helps to gather firewood from the forest so that his mother can cook for the family. On holidays some of the children leave for the rural area to help relatives in their farms.
As compared to urban cities, the rural life situation is different as children especially the boy child, is committed to work in the fields. The girl child helps her mother to clean the house, do some washing and fetching water from the wells, cooking. She even goes on to take care of her younger brothers and sisters. Although they walk to school, as some of their parents cannot afford to give them transport fares, they still try to get to school on time. Many of them become used to it.
On the other hand, some parents in the hinterlands still do not send their children to school as they believe in the traditional methods of educating a child. Such children are mostly found in the hinterlands. The Gambian child in the hinterlands, who does not attend school, wakes up early to work with his parents at the farm to help in some farming activities like ploughing, fetching water, sowing seeds and taking care of life stocks.
In the evenings, the Gambian child in the urban areas and the Gambian child
in the rural areas have one thing in common. They go to sleep in their homes
with the steadfast knowledge that they are loved by their parents.